Describing A City With Art

A collection of diverse pieces of art representing Chicago at the Krannert Art Museum

Written by Bill Xun

Taken by Bill Xun

Between The Buildings: Art From Chicago, 1930s to 1980s is currently on display at the Krannert Art Museum. It’s amazing to see each artist’s individual perspectives and how they choose to represent the city that they live in. Some choose to use photos; others use sculptures, paintings, and all sorts of abstract art. Collectively, the entire exhibition gives viewers a summary of Chicago as a whole through a collection of pieces.

Taken by Bill Xun

The first piece that caught my eye was Allen T. Stringfellows, Street Smarts II. The painting shows the artist’s idea of the city through a snapshot of daily life in Chicago. It shows the colorfulness of city life, and shows many people doing their own thing. It also highlights the African American community, through all the people in the painting interacting with each other.

Taken by Bill Xun

The next piece I saw was a printed photograph of a warehouse and bridge on the Chicago River called Chicago Landscape #131, taken by Art Sinsabaugh. This artist chose to represent Chicago literally, through a direct photo of a part of Chicago. Here, you can see the types of architecture and the landscape of Chicago as if you were actually there. This is a lot different than the previous painting, where the artist decided to convey the city of Chicago through his own style and impression.

Taken by Bill Xun

The last piece is an abstract art piece by Ruth Aizusa Migdal, named Dana’s Zebra Revisited. It is a series of shapes and strokes of paint in dark and light shades. I struggled to understand what the artist was trying to convey through this piece, and how it relates to the city of Chicago. To me, it seems like the artist was trying to describe the city of Chicago through emotions, and transformed those emotions into an abstract painting.

Together, the three pieces form an emotional, visual, and literal representation of the city of Chicago. It’s amazing to see how a set of completely different pieces can come together to form a complete picture of Chicago.


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